John Schwartz reports in today's New York Times about the global community of "satellite spotter" hobbyists who track the heavenly motions of satellites -- some of which are secret government projects -- and share what they find online:
Thousands of people form the spotter community. Many look for historical relics of the early space age, working from publicly available orbital information. Others watch for phenomena like the distinctive flare of sunlight glinting off bright solar panels of some telephone satellites. Still others are drawn to the secretive world of spy satellites, with about a dozen hobbyists who do most of the observing, Mr. Molczan said.
In the case of the mysterious satellite that is about to plunge back to earth, Mr. Molczan had an early sense of which one it was, identifying it as USA-193, which gave out shortly after reaching space in December 2006. It is said to have been built by the Lockheed Martin Corporation and operated by the secretive National Reconnaissance Office.
One of those satellites may be visible to folks in New York City on Friday. Link to the full story, and here's a related item on the NYT "Lede" blog. Image: UK-based satellite spotter John Locker, photo by Jonathan Player for The New York Times.
CeramicSpeed makes bikes that use a drive shaft instead of a chain. Shane Miller got a close look at Eurobike 2018.
Revolve has released a promotional video for its prototype collapsible airless tires. Originally designed for bicycles, the same tire can also be used on a wheelchair.
Tim Harford (previously) is an economist with a gift for explaining complex subjects in simple, accessible terms: his latest book, Fifty Inventions That Shaped the Modern Economy, uses 50 short essays about technologies as varied as Ikea’s Billy Bookcase, the plow, and AI to illustrate the ways that the human race has transformed itself, its relations, and the planet.
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